A Flash of Red Can Sharpen Focus

A Flash of Red Can Sharpen Focus

When you need to make a tough decision, just think about the last time you were angry.

Sounds counterintuitive, but a little anger can actually help you choose better, a study suggests. Just don't work yourself up into a rage. That state still sends all reason out the window.

Get Lightly Steamed, Think Straight
Researchers put college coeds in an angry state and then asked them to read a couple of arguments about students' spending habits. One argument was weak, the other strong. Students were better able to spot the stronger argument when they were a little peeved. Why? Anger may trigger adaptive behaviors -- the kind of behaviors that allow people to adjust to circumstances and make productive, constructive choices. 

But Don't Lose It
Fleeting moments of anger may give you focus, but chronic tension and hostility will take a toll on your health -- possibly increasing your risk of heart disease. Are you a hothead? Try these anger management tips.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

More On

How to Help Someone Who Is Contemplating Suicide

article

How to Help Someone Who Is Contemplating Suicide
Suicide is more common in our country than murder, says Jeff Sommers, MD, a psychiatrist from Henrico Doctors' Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. “We hav...
What to Expect From Your First Psychiatrist Visit

slideshow

What to Expect From Your First Psychiatrist Visit
Learn the questions you should ask, the tests you might have, whether you'll be put on medication—and more.
Less Clutter, Less Stress

article

Less Clutter, Less Stress
Jane and I usually have lunch after yoga class on Saturdays. Recently, she politely excused herself and told me how excited she was to continue declut...
6 Tips for Schizophrenia Caregivers

article

6 Tips for Schizophrenia Caregivers
“You need family members with a clear understanding that this is an illness,” says John Preston, PsyD, a neuropsychologist and professor emeritus with...
Find Your True Self Through Silence

article

Find Your True Self Through Silence
Have you ever spent time with someone you love and just shared the silence of the moment together? Not that uncomfortable silence where someone is ang...